The Real Paul Jones

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E. O. Wilson talk at Morehead Science Center

Last night Sally and Tucker and I went to hear E. O. Wilson speak at the Morehead Science Center. His talk was co-sponsored by the National Humanities Center which gave the talk an interesting direction toward Wilson’s Consilience : the unity of knowledge (1998) book and his Promethean Fire: Reflections on the Origin of the Mind (with Charles Lumsden).

A few not exactly random notes:

Environmental Science | Ethics
Social Science | Biology

the quad above represents a flow of interactions as we try to get at big problems usually going clockwise say from Biology to social science to environmental science to ethics.

Studying languages that add colors or that are impoverished in their names for colors we see:
only 2 terms = Black and white
3 terms = Black, white and Red
(note that these are the colors attractive to new borns – pj)
4 terms = Black, white, red and Green OR Yellow
5 terms = Black, white, red, and Green AND Yellow
6 terms = Black, white, red, green, yellow and Blue
7 terms = Black, white, red, green, yellow, blue and Brown
Then purple, gray, orange, in no particular order

A bit about the incest taboo being strong in primates and recognized by very primative societies. If children are raised together at a very early age, they will not be physicially attracted to each other. Children raised together in a kibbutz rarely if ever marry within that kibbutz. All of this a description of the work of Edvard Westermarck.

Small joking observation in response to a question of what traits other than language are unique to humans:
Man has Paleolithic emotions, Medieval institutions, and God-like powers of catastrophic destruction through his technologies.

As an extra treat, we sat behind Larry Earley, author of Looking for Longleaf: The Rise and Fall of an American Forest, one of Sally’s favorite recent books to have read.

1 Comment

  1. Here’s my review of the book.

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